I am delighted in broadcasting to the world these seasoned poetic voices. A variety of styles and topics grace these pages: Walt Disney fantasy references which serve as metaphors (Underwood), the cataloging of human evolution from an alien perspective (McBride), the mathematical nature of being (Davitt), alien interrogation (Dunn),
the ghosts after a Scottish massacre (Simon), the ghosts after the great flu epidemic (Thornfield-Long), a life-death transition (MacRae), a horror tale (Trimm). A few comments, especially about the artwork chosen/created by me to represent the poems, appear after the author bios.
First, I want to recognize the nominees for a couple prestigious awards:
2018 Puschcart Prize
“Latch Lock & Chain” Marge Simon Issue 37: Feb 2018
“The Light in the Window” Marge Simon Issue 38: May 2018
“The Valley of Dry Bones” Corrine De Winter Issue 38: May 2018
“Perseids” Ann Thornfield-Long Issue 39: Aug 2018
“I had once built a birdhouse” Nikhita Kokkirala Issue 39: Aug 2018
“For The Man That Makes Me Smoke” Aleczandria Yeager Issue 40: Nov 2018
2018 Best of the Net
“Settling on Mars” by Marge Simon Issue 35: Aug 2017
“You lean into this tree as if its roots” by Simon Perchik Issue 35: Aug 2017
“Robot Motivation” by Ken Poyner Issue 37: Feb 2018
“Howl” by Ann Thornfield-Long Issue 37: Feb 2018
“Oumuamua” by Lauren McBride Issue 37: Feb 2018
“The Book of Eve” by Corrine De Winter Issue 38: May 2018
Second, please enjoy another group of talented poets for the November 2018 issue (40) over the Thanksgiving holidays:
Many poems have stellar allusions, whether the stars are in the edge of creation, in a bowl, in a pocket, in a well or in the eye of a cat. The series begins with creation and ends with destruction, but there is interesting life in between. Image information is included in the Editor’s Notes at the end of each poem. Please enjoy.
This exciting issue is filled with delightful and unusual work from Kimberly L. Becker (NC), Sue B. Walker (Mobile, AL), Deborah L. Davitt (Houston, TX), Lauren McBride (Baytown, TX), John Sexton (Carks, Kenmare, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland), Rohinton Daruwala (Pune, India), Celeste Helene Schantz (Fairport, NY), and Ann Thornfield-Long (Norris, TN).
In lieu of speculative poetry in translation, this issue opens with a poem containing phrases in the Cherokee language, which Becker sings in her recording.
There are several unusual narrative poems in this issue, many of which tell some kind of love story. Alabama State Poet Laureate Emerita, Sue B. Walker deftly handles her experimental poems that at the very least subvert the prose form while lifting it into poetry. The internationally recognized poet from Ireland, John Sexton presents an imaginative narrative flash poem. Deborah Davitt uses a sestina with decasyllabic lineation to tell the story of space exploration and of the need for the human heart. Ann Thornfield-Long speaks of love even in the face of catastrophe. The well-defined structure of the poem is a form of mockery to the chaos of destruction.
I could go one and on about these and the other poems by gifted poets: the punch of the short poems, the surreal nature in others, the craft of sound in yet others/their apocalyptic tones, but I want to be quiet for a moment and let you get to them. There are some comments at the end of each poem and about the images I had chosen to complement the poems. Please enjoy.
Welcome to Issue 30 of Silver Blade. One thing you will notice is the wide variety of voices and styles of presentation, let alone speculative texture. At the last minute, we lost a couple poems that provided better bridges for the rest of the collection, but you will not be disappointed with this unusual collage of poetry. The complementary artwork was found using the Advance Google Image search. Images might have been enhanced and/or combined with simple applications (PowerPoint, iPhoto, Word).
We open with Margaret Wack’s dark post apocalyptic poem, “Conflagration,” and quickly move into Mary Soon Lee’s poem rendered as a 2-minute play, “First Lesson.” Ash Krafton’s poem may have physics and astronomy flavors, but the physical is transcended to the metaphysical in “Temporally Illuminate.” This segues nicely into John W. Sexton’s well-crafted “Seeming Space.” And this is followed by yet more astronomy-based scifi work of John Philip Johnson, “Lesser Lunar Geese.” Wendy S. Delmater’s “fan fiction” fantasy poem, “Fëanor,” is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s character. Finally, in the spirit of a speculative poem in translation, Ef Deal translates this poem into French.
The fanciful poem, After the Circus Leaves by Sara Backer, opens Issue 29. The scarecrow image by Adina Voicu (Pixabay) superimposed by stock photos of crows in flight, captures the sentiment.
Royal Visitation by Bruce Boston invokes the use of hands quite differently in his dark poem. A similar mystery and macabre are also depicted in the photographic work of Sarah Jayne.
Increasing darkness follows with two of John Grey’s poems: The Exorcist, a narrative poem complemented by a surreal drawing, “Drowning Silence,” by TehLookingGlass (Anna Kehrer) in Deviant Art; During the Depression, which gives an interesting look at the homeless, is characterized by the Bill Ebbesen photograph of Rob Zombie performing on Orange Stage at 2014 Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The image was further enhanced as a chalk sketch and recolored (accent color 2 dark) for the horrific effect.
In contradistinction, John Reinhart’s The Humaniverse speaks of humanity interestingly put by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the epigraph of the poem: an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I can imagine no better complement to this poem than the Italian painting, “Vertumnus” (“Vertumno”) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) (Vertumno).
Powder Keg by Holly Walrath is part of her collection-in-progress on historical narratives. This is a timely piece on slavery since February is National Black History Month. The pathos is also captured in two images for this poem: The painting, “The Slave Ship,” by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) is a representation of the mass murder of slaves, inspired by the massacre aboard the Zong; and the 1898 photograph (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) of black sharecroppers in Georgia by T. W. Ingersoll (1862-1922).
Akua Lezli Hope’s fantasy poem, Lost Streets, brings the reader to that Scottish place, Brigadoon. The structural discipline of the poem simultaneous goes to both construction and deconstruction of the magical city. The impressionistic lines brought Claude Monet’s (1840-1926) ethereal work, “Thames,” almost immediately to mind, despite the fact the New York river, the Chemung is in the poem.
My Mom and Her Home by Fabiyas M V has a bit of fancifulness, too, but there is something very dark lurking in the subtext. That mystery, and the haunting red color are combined in a composite image of a stock photo of red brick-walled property with an ominous opening into the structure, and the growing red lava texture image in the background by Studio Freya (tatanya).
Denny E. Marshall writes a blend of science fiction and fantasy in the short poem, Quark Sample. The compactness of this work could allude to the compactness of quarks, or of all cosmology on a head of a pin, so to speak. The two images—the crystal ornament and the assemblage of glass blue ornaments—are overlaid to produce a surreal celestial ambiance.
In another poem by John Reinhart, angels dream up the wildest excuses overlaps with Marshall’s on a couple levels. The Cern image used for the creation of the Higg’s Boson in the Large Hadron Collider seemed appropriate.
The issue closes with two selections for our speculative poetry in translation feature. Amelia Gorman translates the German expressionist writer, Else Lasker-Schüler (1869-1945). Her work is often dreamy, surreal, and fanciful, as well as poems about love and spiritual matters. Two images have been provide to complement the mood for each of the two poems (arbitrarily one for the German text and the other for the English translation). The first poem, Sphinx (both a German and English word), might go more to the enigmatic nature of the subject in the poem rather than the typical winged monster of Thebes having a woman’s head and a lion’s body. The artwork of a moon woman by Spanish artist, poet and blogger, Gladys Calamardo, is also seen on her blog (Desatame al amanecer) associated with her poem “El rezo del sol.” The art has all the markers of Schüler’s style. The other piece is another overlay: a photograph of the flower, narcissus, by J. Arlecchino and the creative photograph by Steve Bidmead photo of the a lady in sillhouette celebrating the moon. But for the poem Love, the impressionism of Frederick Carl Freiseke (1874-1939) is displayed. Both “Hollyhocks” and “Cherry Blossoms” have a sheer sensitivity and tenderness to go with the mood of the poem. Be sure you read the translator’s notes for further insights.
John C. Mannnone
* Most of of the images appearing here were located using Google’s advanced image search tool (http://www.google.com/advanced_image_search), with “free to use, share or modify” selected. A few images were combined in PowerPoint using the transparency feature, while one was enhance using Microsoft Word picture format tools. But in every case, the work is free to use without attribution (though made anyway), free to use under Creative Commons Licenses, or used with permission.